Summer (music) in the city

July 10, 2012

by Susannah Brooks

Summer always brings flocks of visitors to campus. Each year, many participatory musical events have added a particularly tuneful note to all that UW-Madison has to offer, showcasing connections between the university and the wider world.

David Cao, who will begin ninth grade at Madison’s James Madison Memorial High School in the fall, has played violin for eight years. This year, he spent a week at Summer Music Clinic, living and playing music with fellow campers from across the region, before preparing for a three-week summer tour of Europe with the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Both programs are affiliated with the School of Music, bringing hundreds of middle and high school students to campus in what is often their first exposure to UW-Madison. Several School of Music students and alumni are traveling on the tour to round out the performing ranks.

“WYSO and Music Clinic have given me a great outlook on the UW-Madison music program,” says Cao. “The School of Music is vast, with great concert and practicing facilities. You are better acquainted with how UW students live in the campus: sleeping with another roommate in a dorm and campus dining.  [With both programs] we can bring back techniques, how to play in a larger ensemble, and learn how to work with fellow musicians.”

Other groups that have sprung from university partnerships play a major role in Madison’s summer culture. The Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, led by School of Music professor Stephanie Jutt, has also served as a centerpiece for the university’s Arts Enterprise Symposia, convened to teach business and survival skills to young performing and visual artists.

This week alone includes several events encouraging participants to perform and study alongside internationally known artists.

The Madison Early Music Festival’s focus is a little less early than in past years, with “Welcome Home Again! An American Celebration.” Looking back to the early music of the United States, the 13th annual event spans early Colonial times in the 1600's all the way to the Civil War. Traditions from Europe, New England and the Canadian Maritimes merge with discoveries from Thomas Jefferson’s library and parlor music from the age of Abraham Lincoln.

The Festival Concert Series takes place every night at 7:30 p.m. in Mills Hall of the Mosse Humanities Building, with pre-concert lectures at 6:30 p.m. in nearby Morphy Hall. Performers include the Newberry Consort, Chatham Baroque, the Rose Ensemble and MEMF faculty members. A free shape-note sing, open to the public, will take place in Mills Hall on Wednesday, July 11.

UW-Madison’s Russian Folk Orchestra plays host to the national convention of the Balalaika and Domra Association of America, culminating with a gala concert on Friday, July 13, at the Middleton High School Performing Arts Center, 2100 Bristol St. Tickets are available at 608-265-2787; more information is available at 608-259-9440.

Local and international soloists will join singers, dancers and a 100-member balalaika orchestra led by Victor Gorodinsky, conductor of the Russian Folk Orchestra as well as a Slavic languages librarian at the Memorial Library.

Finally, the Summer Band performs in the courtyard of the Mosse Humanities Building on Thursday, July 12, at 7 p.m. The concert, which is free and open to the public, brings together current and former students and community members under the baton of Scott Teeple, director of UW-Madison’s top-level Wind Ensemble.

Other notable music events this summer include KlezKamp, a free celebration of klezmer music and Yiddish culture presented by UW-Madison’s Mayrent Institute, on Sunday, July 22, and weekly carillon concerts by carillonneur Lyle Anderson on Thursdays, July 12 and 19, at 7:30 p.m., as well as each Sunday at 3 p.m.